Anti-Boycott Bill Surfaces Again; Let’s Defeat it Again

Massachusetts Freedom to Boycott Coalition Massachusetts Freedom to Boycott Coalition meeting, October 2016

Can you believe it? In Massachusetts, our right to boycott is once again under threat.

In 2017, we were part of the successful fight against anti-boycott legislation in Massachusetts.  The bill is designed to penalize support for the Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement and to curtail our right to boycott.  Due to the massive opposition, the bill went nowhere – by a vote of 14-1, it never got out of committee. 

And, since that time there have been several rulings in federal courts finding that similar bills are unconstitutional.

But guess what? The same bill is back in front of the Massachusetts legislature. The old House bill (No.1685 from 1/17/17) An Act prohibiting discrimination in state contracts, has been re-filed as House No. 2719. It is the very same bill with the very same first amendment issues. 

It was wrong then and it is wrong now.  Here’s why this bill must be stopped.

So, we all need to stand up again.

SAVE THE DATE!! Tuesday, November 19 is the date for the hearing on the new bill.  It will take place in Gardner Auditorium at the State House.  It may be a long day.

What you can do:

  1. Publicize the hearing in all of your networks. We will provide text to disseminate.
  2. Attend the Tuesday, November 19th hearing.  More info on the hearing 
  3. Testify at the hearing, or recruit someone from your organization to do so.

A very short expression of your opposition to this bill is all that is necessary. Saying, “I agree with the testifier who opposed this bill on first amendment grounds” or “I agree with the testifier who said that this bill is redundant and that Massachusetts already has anti-discrimination bills which protect us” or other such statements, will carry a lot of weight with the Committee hearing this bill.   Numbers of people matter, not long speeches. (and anyway testimony is limited to 3 minutes)

We need your support as we again push back on this unconstitutional, anti-boycott legislation. Let’s have a repeat of the 2017 State Administration on Regulatory Oversight Committee giving this the ‘deep six’!

The Massachusetts Freedom to Boycott Coalition is coordinated by Massachusetts Peace Action, Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston, Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine, and Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East.  Please respond to this email address: freedom2boycottma@gmail.com to let us know if you might be able to participate.